As we close out the week, I’m reflecting on some of the articles published in honor of yesterday’s International Women’s Day. Here are just a few of the provocative, interesting, inspiring and even maddening(!) ones I encourage you to read or re-read, in no particular order…
1. “What if Mark Zuckerberg Were Born a Girl in Rwanda?” Huff Post‘s Global Motherhood series – In light of IWD celebrations this week on social media–especially on Facebook–Kate Roberts of Population Services International highlights the need for better education and health for women and girls by asking us to imagine what would happen if Mark Zuckerberg had been born a girl in the developing world. “Imagine,” she says, “if his inventive mind–rather than being given the opportunity to create, flourish, and ultimately change the world–had been squandered by poor health and inadequate education.” Roberts has found an imaginative way to frame an ever-present problem in the developing world.
2. “International Women’s Day 2012: Empowering Rural Women To End Hunger and Poverty,” Huffington Post - Education is the key to lifting rural women and girls out of poverty and UNESCO estimates that about 80% of the 67 million children not attending school live in rural areas, the majority of whom are girls.
3. “Giving Rural Women the Power to End Hunger and Poverty,” ONE Blog - It’s a guest post by Léontine Ayawovi Gbadégbégnon, the secretary-general of Togo’s Groupe de Réflexion et d’Action Femme, Démocratie and Développement (GF2D), a political action group focused on empowering women with a voice in decision-making processes.
4. “Tanzania Hailed on Women’s Welfare,” Tanzania’s Daily News - Featuring comments by John Hendra, Deputy Executive Director of Women, as well as the Dar es Salaam regional commissioner, Said Meck Sadick, who said that beyond the celebrations of IWD 2012, the day is also an opportunity to evaluate the progress in the “liberation of [Tanzanian] women.”
5. “World Bank Must Re-Evaluate Its Strategies to Cut Maternal Mortality,” Poverty Matters blog on The Guardian - This is a deeply critical review of the World Bank’s claim that it is a global leader in improving maternal and child health. Though it has earmarked $96 million for reproductive health projects in 2011, the blogger writes, ”the bank fails to mention that this total represents just 0.2% of its $43 billion budget” for 2011.
6. “Girls at Risk: Starting a Revolution for Teenage Mothers,” CNN’s African Voices series – Guest blogger Seri Wendoh of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) writes of the need for better reproductive health for women and teenagers, especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia, which have some of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates. Though, “it may seem to you to be the wrong message to be highlighting on [IWD], which should be celebratory,” but it is apropos considering the IWD theme, ‘Connecting girls, inspiring futures.’
7. “A Dream Deferred,” Huff Post Impact – A post by Malawi-born Esther Munthali, a fellow with the Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative (AGALI), and program officer at the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS), who discusses her difficult upbringing and her work today to improve the lives of adolescent girls and women in Malawi.
8. “Africa’s Girl Power,” The New York Times‘ Opinion Pages – Another call to educate Africa’s girls, as the key contributor to improving the economies of African nations in the long term.
9. “What I Learned from Meeting Women in Kenya,” Oxfam’s GROW blog - Oxfam’s celebrity Global Ambassador Helena Christensen reflects on her visit to drought-stricken northern Kenya, and the power and determination of the women she met along the way.
10. “Microloans, Greenhouses Help Women Cope with Climate Change,” Inter Press Service (IPS) News – Microfinance loans given to Kenyan women in a Trust Group format are enabling them to increase crop yields through irrigation and greenhouses, helping them to weather (no pun intended) the ill effects of global climate change.